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Just like browser extensions that allow you to perform actions without leaving a website, Microsoft Word offers add-ins that extend what you can do inside your document. When you are in the midst of reading, creating, or editing a document, having quick access to actions and references means that you can continue your work without opening another application.
We have compiled the best add-ins for Microsoft Word to improve your workflow.
Finding, Installing, and Opening Add-ins
Microsoft Word 2016 has an easily accessible store with a variety of categorized add-ins for both Windows and Mac. With a document open, select the Insert tab and click Store. The Office Add-ins Store will pop open in a new window where you can browse by category or search for a specific add-in. Adversely, you can visit the Office Store online and select Add-ins from the top navigation.
When you find an add-in using either avenue, you can simply click it for additional details. If you are visiting the store from the pop-up window within Word, you will click the Trust It button to install and if you are on the website, you will click the Add button.
If you are installing an add-in from the online store, you may have to either sign out and back in to Office 365 or close and reopen Word to see the new add-in.
Also, please keep in mind that the add-ins normally come from third-party providers, just like browser extensions, so be aware of the terms and conditions, privacy statements, system requirements, and security.
To use your installed add-ins, just click the My Add-ins button from the Insert menu. This will open a window displaying your options and double-clicking an add-in will open it. You can also select the arrow next to the button to see your recently-used add-ins and pick one from there.
10 Useful Add-ins for Productivity
Now that you know how to locate, install, and open Word add-ins, take a look at these 10 convenient and helpful options. Again, the goal is to increase your productivity by continuing to work on your Word document without the need to open another application.
While Word has a decent spelling and grammar checking tool, consistency is also crucial when creating a professional and well-written document. The Consistency Checker will scan your document for hyphenation, numbers in sentences, variations in spelling, common typos, and abbreviations in multiple forms.
Once you click the Scan button, the add-in will display any inconsistencies found. For example, if you use the word email in one paragraph, but use e-mail in another, these results will display so that you can make corrections for a consistent document.
If you are creating a brochure, school paper, or presentation that requires images or would be improved by using them, Picket Presentation Images works great. You can either pop open the add-in window and search for what you need or select text in your document and choose the add-in from the context menu.
If you use the add-in window, you can search by keyword, look at collections, or browse by category. Once you see an image you would like to use, just select it to view the details or click to simply insert it into your document.
3. Office QR
For documents where you want to create and insert a QR code for contact details, a website address, or to display text from a provided file, Office QR is a wonderful tool. First, choose one of those options, then pick the light and dark colors as well as the error correction percentage.
Once the code is generated for you, just click to insert it into your document. From there, you can use the default editing features in Word to adjust the size and location. Office QR is a handy tool when you have a social newsletter, sales flyer, or even a reference document for your team.
For many business as well as personal situations, you may have to perform text translations and that is when the Translator add-in can save the day. This tool is powered by Microsoft Translator and is extremely simple to use.
You can either highlight text in your document or enter it into the add-in window. The Translator will auto-detect the originating language; however, this can be adjusted. You then just select the destination language to see your translation. Insert the translated text by clicking it and selecting Insert. This add-in offers the easiest way to translate text you are either reading or creating in Word.
When it comes to templates for both Word and Excel, Vertex42 is a reliable and popular choice. With Word templates for the office that include a calendar, meeting minutes, and a business plan, you can check out the options with a click.
When you open the add-in window, you will see several categories to choose from for both personal and professional situations. Then just pick one and view the template options. Once you have decided on the template you want, click the Download button and the Vertext42 website will open in a new window for you to obtain the template.
If you are a DocuSign user, then this Word add-in is a must-have. Once you sign in with Office 365, DocuSign, or Microsoft, you decide who is signing the document.
You can select from others signing, you signing alone, or both. If you make a mistake, you have quick options to correct it.
For example, if it is only you signing, a window will pop open for you to continue or close if you made an error. If others are signing, you have the option to add additional people as well as yourself. Just enter the names and email addresses for the required signatures. You can also have your recipient merely receive a copy or review the document.
If you are tired of searching for symbols within Word or can never find the one you want, check out Symbol Search. This handy add-in displays symbols by category and also allows for a search by keyword.
When you find the symbol you want, click it to insert it into your document.
This add-in also includes a convenient spot for recently-used symbols, which is wonderful for those you use most often. Just a note, if you click on the More (three-dot) category, you will see dozens of options such as the registered symbol, double asterisks, subscript numbers, and many more.
What could be more convenient than a calculator right within Word? Maybe you are figuring time sheets, project hours, or percentages for your document. With Handy Calculator you do not have to worry about searching for the calculator in your drawer or on your computer.
Providing the most basic of calculations, you never have to leave your document to obtain a figure or simply double-check your numbers. Handy Calculator is true to its name.
9. Dictionary – Merriam-Webster [No Longer Available]
While the thesaurus built into Word can be a convenient tool, the lack of a dictionary is disappointing. For a reliable, consistent, and reputable option, Dictionary – Merriam-Webster is a terrific add-in. Whether you need to research a word in a document you are reading or need to make sure you are correctly using a word when editing, this is a useful add-in.
Complete with definitions and additional words that are linked, this add-in comes with a bonus as well. If you happen to use Word’s thesaurus after you install this add-in, you will also see the word’s definition at the bottom of the same window. It does not get more convenient than that.
When you are reading a document that contains abbreviations that are confusing, the Abbreviations.com add-in can help. Just open the add-in, select the abbreviation in the text of the document, and the add-in window will display definitions.
The results are neatly displayed and include not only the meaning of the abbreviation, but also the genre it falls into. For example, if you look up MBA you will clearly see the difference in meanings from the business degree, banking association, and airport code, and can then apply it accordingly to what you are reading or writing.
If you no longer need or want an add-in that you installed, removing it is simple. First, select the My Add-ins button from your Insert tab. Then, click on the More (three-dot) option in the top right corner of the add-in. Select Remove and then Remove again in the confirmation pop-up.
Which Are Your Favorite Word Add-ins?
Add-ins can completely change how you use Word. Which ones work best for you depends on your workflow. Some Word users may find the translator or image search add-ins the most useful, while others cannot live without the dictionary or calculator add-ins.
Which Word add-ins do you find the most helpful? If you have others that you use and would like to share them with our readers, please leave a comment below.